We often enter or are present on land owned by others. For instance, you may be shopping in a store or just visiting a friend’s house. Usually those kinds of visits are routine. But what happens when you become injured due to a dangerous condition on the property?
If you find yourself injured due to a dangerous condition present on a property, you may be entitled to compensation for you injuries . . . if you can provide the necessary proof. Speaking with a knowledgeable and experienced legal representative, such as can be found at Rankin & Rankin, is the best way to determine what your rights are and how you can potentially receive compensation for your injuries. In the meantime, the following provides a general overview of the law regarding premises liability and the types of proof required to recover in such a case.
Being injured as the result of a dangerous condition on someone’s property falls under the category of premises liability and is often based on the legal concept of negligence. For someone to be considered legally liable, or at-fault, under a negligence theory, there must be:
- a duty (such as to maintain, repair, or warn of defects/dangerous conditions)
- breach of that duty
- the breach caused the damages complained of
So, what is needed to prove that the duty existed? Most often, the duty that the owner of the premises owes to you depends on your status, or basically what type of guest you are.
Status or Classification
The first thing needed to be proven is what type of guest you were, or why you were on the property, in order to establish what type of duty was owed to you.
Trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care and generally assume any risk involved. Licensees are a status of guests that are owed a higher duty of care. Licensees are people, such as social guests, who have permission to enter a premises and do so for their own purposes (such as socializing). If you were a licensee when injured, the premises owners must have warned you of any hidden (or not readily apparent) dangers which are known to them. The highest duty of care is owed to invitees, which are people who enter a premises in furtherance of the owner’s business or for the benefit of the landowner (such as someone shopping at a supermarket). The owners in that situation have a duty of “reasonable care” to keep the premises reasonably safe, not just to warn of potential dangers.
What Else Must You Prove?
Once you are able to demonstrate the duty owed by the premises owner, you must be able to prove that the owner failed in their duty, and that you were hurt as a result of that failure. Here are just a few things you can do to help provide that proof:
Taking pictures of the dangerous condition and surrounding area is a great way to document the scene and can prove immensely helpful in establishing a case.
Be sure to let someone, preferable the owner or an employee, know what just happened. Complete an incident report, which most businesses will provide.
Gather Witness Information and Statements
Be sure to get the names and contact information of anyone who saw how you were injured.
Hire an Experienced Legal Representative
Hiring someone with experience in this area can be a huge help in collecting the necessary proof. A legal representative will be able to help gather valuable information such as logs/records from the business or video/surveillance footage, for instance.
Contact Us Today!
If you’ve been injured due to a dangerous condition on a property, you may be entitled to compensation. Let us help you get the proof you need to build a case and get what you deserve. Schedule a FREE CASE EVALUATION online or by calling 843-248-2405
Rankin and Rankin Law Firm is located in Conway, South Carolina and serves the entire Lowcountry area including Horry County, Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Charleston, and Hilton Head, SC.